We had the good fortune of connecting with Lucy Woodward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lucy, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I was born into a family of workaholic New Yorkers so the go-go-go mentality was just something we did. I was the type of kid who couldn’t wait to fall asleep at night because I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to jump into this thing called LIFE. It’s kind of cute but also a bit weird. And when I think about it, I didn’t know other kids who were like that. As a young musician in NYC going from studio session to studio session, I was a maniac and said “yes” to every job that came way. A typical day would be racing to gigs, shoving lunch into my system standing on a subway platform somewhere (kind of typical for a New Yorker) fueled by massive amounts of coffee. NYC can do that to you and the deadline is always yesterday. Any creative person can say “doing what they do” is usually driven by a force, invisible push or even a nagging, so I know this lifestyle made me who I am, born this way or not. No regrets. Was it all worth it? Absolutely. Was there balance in my life? Absolutely not. In my mid-20’s I started noticing strange patterns from pushing myself too hard. When I would finish a project, I would sometimes fall into bed for 5 days with deep fatigue. I started getting a stomach virus annually. I mean, who gets the stomach virus annually? Will spare you the lovely gory details but one time I was so sick that I burst blood vessels in my eyeballs. I had to make changes. I had been running on adrenaline for years. Saying no to certain types of work can be terrifying as a freelancer, but I started with that. I also didn’t know I had been singing with extreme vocal-exhaustion so I learned how to take more or longer breaks (I was diagnosed years later with a polyp which I still manage to this day). I started meditating more and sitting still with my thoughts, but also learned to detach from those thoughts since they were just – thoughts. In 2020, I’ve had a lot more time to think about balance. This year was a hard year for me in the sense of not having structure (I had about 70 concerts cancel due to Covid) so I can experiment with that now which I am grateful for. When I wake up, my mind is rested and open-minded so I try to do creative writing then. A few hours later, I feel my brain slowly slipping into admin or techy thinking. Then I feel it shift to my body so I know I need to physically move. Mind, brain, body – all taking cues from each other. At the risk of sounding corny, I’ve learned to trust that as long as my heart is driving this machine, I am good. And listening, waiting for cues, not deadlines.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a person who has always been driven by passion in my work. While I am super practical and weigh out the pros and cons before making big decisions, I also really make sure I listen to gut feelings. It’s primal. If the decision ends up being the wrong one, it never really IS wrong, because that’s what you chose in that moment. Therefore, I can make peace with things more clearly. I certainly have different toolboxes in my head though and I pull out different ones for different occasions. Years ago, I had to work very closely with an insanely difficult person. I had pangs of anxiety an hour before seeing them or a sobfest at night with another co-worker reflecting on the events of the day. I felt my patience and resilience muscle up as I was thrown into survival mode. How would I protect myself? I was blocked from actual being myself and I realized that connection and communication was everything to me. I learned quite a bit about “the ego” that year and how we always truly and sometimes painfully, have to check it. If I can connect to 1 person or 1000, I have done my job. Because I am a singer, I rely on resonance. My drive/passion/goal is to resonate in a single note or a lyric. In singing, this might only last for a split second. But it’s the string of those resonating moments, like words, that create the message or feeling. Resonating is another form of connection for me and I need that in order to do my job. But I need to resonate outside of music, too. I connect with other people who feel the same way about music and their place in the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would rent a car and start off by driving up the PCH to get a full view of the panoramic view of the gorgeous Pacific. I’d pop in quickly for fish tacos at The Reel Inn in Malibu and drive up to Paradise Cove and spend the night. Rosenthal Wine has lovely wine tastings so would make sure I hit that one day while the sun is setting.
Take a walk in Griffith Park and end up at Stamp Proper Food for lunch. My new favorite spot is Fatamorgana – real gelato from Rome! They have 2 locations (Studio City and Beverly Hills) so when that sweet tooth hits you like a lightning bolt, you’re covered no matter what side of town you’re on. Yummy year round.
Another day I would park my car downtown and put on some good sneakers and walk for hours. Start off at The Broad (museum) and wander the streets to see the incredible architecture. You can’t miss the Library, Union Station and all great food along the way! Make sure you catch a concert at Disney Hall that evening. I think getting lost is always the way to go in a new city!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to Creative Visions who make it their purpose to inspire thought, meaning and change with every person they encounter. Creative Visions is led by the fearless creative activist Kathy Eldon, who is a warrior when it comes to turning tiny pebble ideas into massive avalanches. Kathy has the gift to be able to unleash your ideas, potentially turning them movements on an individual and global level. Creative Visions is a non-profit organization that has impacted more than 100 million people globally. Kathy’s 17 books include the Catcher guided journal series, written with her daughter Amy and her memoir, In the Heart of Life. Kathy’s photojournalist son Dan Eldon, was killed while on assignment in Somalia for Reuters. His life has inspired four books, three documentaries and The Journey is the Destination, a feature film based on a collection of his journals.
Nina Duncan Eric Morgensen Mikiodo Sallie Mosely Ruth Ha